Best Support Abilities in Final Fantasy IX (Ranked)

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Ahh, Final Fantasy IX. One could argue this entry was the swan song for the “Classic” era of the series. However, for as many things as it brought in from other entries, its support skill system was unique only to itself.

Released on the PlayStation in 2000, this was the last entry in the franchise to appear on fifth-gen consoles. As a result this game reviewed well, but remains somewhat divisive despite its praise.

The support skill system is one such divisive point, requiring you to keep certain pieces of equipment around for so many battles before your skills could be permanently learned.

The plus side to this system is that every single piece of equipment bears some degree of usefulness. And even if you’re a little underleveled, you might just have the right skill handy for that tough encounter that’s been polishing the floor with your face! (Looking at you, Oeilvert)

Well just to make this a bit easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of the most useful support skills to get you through the harder stretches of FF9!

 

10. Antibody

Antibody Support Ability in FF9

Type: Status Protection

This is actually one of the first skills you acquire in the entire game!

It grants the equipped party member with immunity to poison status (which slowly depletes your HP).

But much more importantly, Antibody grants immunity to Venom status, which depletes HP and MP rather quickly, as well as completely immobilizing that character.

Got 4 party members with Venom? See you at the start screen.

Of course, many later enemies in the game such as the Chimera will throw out Venom like candy on Halloween. But with Antibody equipped you’ll never even need to give the ailment a second thought!

How to get: You can gain this skill from the Bronze Gloves or Glass Armlet found in Lindblum.

 

9. MP Attack

MP Attack FFIX Support Ability

Type: Damage Boost

This skill starts showing up in Disc 2 and is incredibly useful for characters like Zidane or Steiner, who have little need for MP outside of Magic Sword or Dyne, respectively.

It boosts their physical attack by consuming a small amount of MP per hit.

Combined with Steiner’s Trance effect which triples his attack power, this skill can absolutely annihilate even later encounters such as The Earth Guardian or Nova Dragon.

How to get: MP Attack is learned from the Power Belt obtained in Treno after viewing an ATE as Steiner and talking to the Four-Armed Man on the way to the Synthesis Shop.

 

8. Counter

Counter FFIX Support Ability

Type: Auto-Action

A tremendously useful skill obtained in mid-Disc 2, Counter lends a chance of automatically attacking after taking damage.

Combined with MP Attack, if a team of 4 had this skill and were hit by a party-wide attack such as Deathguise’s Tail attack, there;s a chance the whole team could counter for anywhere from 10,000 to almost 40,000 damage!

How to get: Thankfully this skill is found on the aforementioned Power Belt!

 

7. Auto-Potion

Auto-Potion in Final Fantasy IX

Type: Auto-Action

Now this skill seems pathetic if used with normal potions in your inventory.

However, if used when only Hi-Potions are in your possession, you can gain back either 450HP or 900HP (explained below) when you receive damage.

If equipped on, say, Vivi, Auto-Potion ensures that he has some life expectancy after being hit by a heavy attack such as Hilgigar’s Hip Drop. Which would otherwise leave him in critical HP.

How to get: Learned from a variety of enemies at the cost of three Magic Stones.

 

6. Chemist

Chemist from FFIX

Type: Item Boost

Boasting the ability to boost all the beneficial effects of your basic healing items, this skill doubles the potency of Potions and Hi-potions.

Were this to be paired up with Auto-Potion, the character who gets hit will regain 900HP upon receiving damage.

This is likely enough to heal Dagger fully, specifically at the point in the game where these skills are available.

How to get: Madain’s Ring, found in the mining minigame within Fossil Roo, bestows this skill.

 

5. Body Temp

Body Temp Support Ability in FF9

Type: Status Protection

Heat and Freeze are two of the most agonizing status ailments.

One kills you if you take physical damage, and the other kills you for taking any action.

This skill prevents both from happening.

A large portion of Disc 4’s enemies will inflict these ailments on your party, making this skill more useful even than Jelly or Locomotion.

How to get: Madain’s Ring again!

 

4. Level Up/Ability Up

Level Up/Ability Up in Final Fantasy IX

Type: Experience/Ability Point Boost

This seems obvious, but both skills really are a godsend.

As you spend roughly three-fourths of the game without more than 4 of your main party members, these skills are incredibly useful for catching back up when party members finally rejoin.

I have grouped these skills together as they offer such a similar function.

This is especially useful in late Disc 3 when you have the full team together.

How to get: The Iron Helm and Egoist’s Armlet have Level Up. Ability Up can be found on the Diamond Gloves, Silk Robe, Green Beret, or Ribbon.

 

3. Long Reach

Long Reach FFIX Support Ability

Type: Attack Boost

Long Reach allows your team’s attacks to deal the same amount of damage from the back row as they would from the front.

Moving your team’s melee fighters to the back row halves the damage they receive from physical attacks.

Paired with Counter, this skill will allow you to receive far less damage, and potentially dish out huge amounts in return!

How to get: This one is given by the Protect Ring, obtainable from Mene for 8500 points after playing Chocobo Hot & Cold.

 

2. Auto-Regen

Auto-Regen from FFIX

Type: Positive Status Effect

This skill ensures that your characters will continue to regain HP as a fight goes on.

Permanently.

If you use one of Dagger’s Summons, then Auto-Regen will continue to heal your party passively throughout the entire animation.

This could potentially mean the difference between life or death against moves like Necron’s Neutron Ring.

How to get: This skill is learned from the Angel Earrings, gained in Disc 3 for issuing orders to the Knights of Pluto correctly.

 

1. Auto-Haste

Auto-Haste FFIX Support Ability

Type: Blessing of God… Also Positive Status Effect

The Holy grail of all passive skills in this game.

Auto-Haste lets your characters act more frequently. This means getting off 2 or even sometimes 3 turns in between enemy attacks.

Combined with Auto-Regen, you can add Auto-Haste to let Dagger summon twice, or otherwise fire off lengthy animations.

Regen could feasibly fully heal your team with the abundance of animations, assuming you don’t simply DPS everything to death with a careful combination of all the skills we’ve listed here.

How to get: The Running Shoes, found in Quan’s Dwelling with both Quina and Vivi in the party.

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